Friday, September 25, 2009

And the Envelope Please…

Okay, so it wasn’t the Academy Awards. Still it was a testament to our past performance and a chance to raise public awareness of the Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Research Center when we were nominated for the TechAmerica Spirit of Endeavor Award for “Leadership in Technology Education”. According to the TechAmerica website, the “Spirit of Endeavor Awards are open to the entire technology industry and honor those people and companies based in [the south] who have had significant accomplishments within the technology industry.”

The nomination for this award came by way of Habif, Arogeti, and Wynne, LLP (HAW), an Atlanta firm of certified public accountants and business advisors that is one of the sponsors of the awards program. I recently gave a presentation on the NRC to their Technology and Manufacturing groups, and this initiated a request for the nomination materials, which described our wide variety of education activities in training researchers and educating the general public about nanotechnology. (E-mail me if you would like a copy.)

The awards program was held on Sept. 17 at the Fox Theatre, with Nancy Healy and Joyce Palmer attending and graciously hosted by Susan O’Dwyer and Mitchell Kopelman from HAW. When the 9 nominees for this category were narrowed to 4 finalists, it was a pleasant surprise to find that the NRC was among them. While we did not win the award, at least Kanye West did not interrupt any acceptance speech.

Thanks again to HAW and TechAmerica and kudos to Nancy, Joyce and the rest of the NRC.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What Molecules Look Like

I know that not everyone will find this Science paper [Gross et al. (2009) “The Chemical Structure of a Molecule Resolved by Atomic Force Microscopy”, 325, 1110-1114] as amazing as I do.  But I am a chemist, and when someone shows that they can actually visualize all of the atoms and bonds in a single molecule, I take notice.  Chemists have used a variety of analytical and spectroscopic methods, such as NMR, X-ray diffraction, and mass spec, combined with indirect analysis of chemical reactions, bond theory, and quantum mechanics to deduce the structures of molecules.  We have come a long way technologically since the days of Kekule, who, so the legend goes, deduced the structure of benzene by dreaming of a snake swallowing its own tail.  Still, nobody had actually seen a complete molecule, until now.  We can now imagine what von Leeuenhoek felt when he trained his microscope on the “animalcules” on a sample of pond water for the first time.

If you don’t wish to read the original paper, at least take a look at this feature article about the research in Chemical and Engineering News.  This link also includes a great video that describes the research and its implications.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Become an NRC Fan on Facebook

If you look at the top right side of this page, you will notice a new button to become a fan of the Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Research Center Facebook page.  We will use this social media tool to provide an interactive forum for users, friends, staff, and other interested parties of the NRC.  Feel free to post photos, events, links, and other information that you think NRC fans might find useful.

At the same time, I want to give credit to the Mashable website posting 10 Ways Universities Share Information Using Social Media which suggested that Facebook can provide a valuable tool for marketing and public relations.  This posting has some interesting concepts that other universities are using to connect constituents and provide information.